I am beginning this thread to chronicle my experiences on using Linux on Lenovo Thinkpad T400. This is a very good and reliable laptop, and I am happy purchasing this laptop for my daily use. Without any computing load, the laptop runs cool at 35-39 deg C---much cooler than my previous laptops! I'd love to invite other Thinkpad owners to participate on related topics.
Description of my system:
* Intel Core2 duo 2.26 GHz
* 2 GB DDR3 RAM
* Hybrid ATI/Intel graphics
* Intel Wireless 5100 AGN
I am always using 64-bit OS on this laptop for work-related reasons (building for 64-bit environment). I disabled the ATI card from BIOS and only used the Intel. Here is the relevant lspci output:
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
Since I have been using Ubuntu for several years now (since 2007) my first choice was Ubuntu for this laptop. Here's the summary of my experiences:
*) Ubuntu 8.04 LTS: shortly after installing this distro, I overwrote the installation with 8.10 because of some showstopper. I don't remember what the problem now (maybe has to do with shutdown or related).
*) Ubuntu 8.10: This was "okay" but not great. Wireless connectivity was not great, since the wireless driver is buggy. System becomes unstable when enabling or disabling wireless.
*) Sabayon 5: I have long been interested in Gentoo-based system. But it turned out to be too much work (lots of compilation to do) for what I wanted to have accomplished, so I gave it up eventually. This was a fine distro though.
*) I have had Ubuntu 10.04 on my laptop since September 2010. I have been using kernel modeset. For a while this laptop suspended and resumed with no problem whatsoever. I use this laptop as a work machine that I suspend/resume often (once or twice a day if not more). Recently (for a few months) the laptop sometimes wake up with a bizzare behavior on the LCD display: it flashes a bright light then the LCD went black. The display could not recover until I rebooted the laptop. Trying to suspend and resume again won't help.
In addition the X display often shows random flickering (once every some minutes--so random I can't tell the frequency of this occurence).
I tried backported 2.6.35 and 2.6.38 series kernel available for
10.04---I keep having issues with respect to suspend/resume. 2.6.35
problem is as described in the bug page (moon light blinking and
suspend was hung);
2.6.38's problem is with waking up from suspend (something X-related; I can't describe in full right now). Both are occasionally happening (and don't know when they will happen). It feels like I want to give up using Ubuntu on this laptop.
I love Ubuntu and the efforts made by Canonical to popularize linux. However I am also disappointed that critical issues like this always exist from release to release. Tired of using Ubuntu, I am now trying Debian.
*) I recently installed Debian 6.0.2 (Squeeze) on my laptop. I think this distro runs smoothly on this laptop. Debian seems to pay better attention to stability and reliability for "business"-like uses. If you don't mind running software that is not the latest, the "stable" line is for you.
For Debian 6, they "Squeezed"(tm) out the proprietary firmware to separate packages. This laptop requires intel iwlwifi firmware, which must be installed separately (not a big deal). Get them from here:
or here (as of 2.6.32 kernel line):
Because of this chicken-and-egg issue with wireless firmware, you must install Debian via wired network, not wireless. Once firmware is installed, wireless runs fine.
I am using "stable" line for most software. If you are like me, wanting some newer software (but not all), try squeeze-backports: (See instructions here:
I am using kernel 2.6.38 from squeeze-backports to get rid of "screen flickering" problem existing in 2.6.32 kernel line (described above on 10.04 Ubuntu line). So far it is running smoothly, so I would recommend upgrading to this one. For backport kernel 2.6.35+ we need this firmware instead of above:
That's my two cents.